10/22/2015 11:06AM

Two contests on a quiet Saturday


It’s one of those calm-before-the-storm weekends in horse racing. With the Breeders’ Cup just a week away, many players will already be studying those races intently. Perhaps there’s an opportunity here for contest players looking to focus on this weekend’s slate of races instead.

There are two contests in the DRF universe on Saturday. On NHCQualify.com, up to four spots at the National Handicapping Championship will be awarded out of a contest that has a $165 buy-in. We’re getting near crunch time for NHC qualification, and these next two weekends may represent a sweet spot for players seeking to get into racing’s richest and most prestigious tournament before everyone starts focusing on it.

On DRFQualify.com, there will be a qualifier for Del Mar’s two-day November Handicapping Championship, to be held Nov. 14-15. The entry fee for the qualifier is $100, and up to two $4,000 seats at Del Mar will be awarded.

Both of Saturday’s qualifying contests follow the “live” format common online, with 12 mandatory races in which each player must make one mythical $2 win-place bet in each. Here are the races for both contests:
3:51 Keeneland 6
4:13 Belmont 8
4:24 Keeneland  7
4:46 Belmont 9
4:57 Keeneland 8
5:19 Belmont 10
5:30 Keeneland 9
5:39 Santa Anita 4
5:52 Belmont 11
6:00 Santa Anita 5
6:03 Keeneland 10

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It’s a surprisingly good slate for a quiet Saturday, highlighted by the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View at Keeneland and three stakes from Belmont’s New York-bred showcase day: the Maid of the Mist (2-year-old fillies on dirt), Empire Distaff (fillies and mares on dirt), and Ticonderoga (fillies and mares on turf). Field sizes and spacing both look good. As contest director Ken Kirchner said, “It should be a great shoot-out.”

To win your share of $2.5 million at the NHC, go to https://www.nhcqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx. To play in the Del Mar contest, check out https://www.drfqualify.com/buy_advanced.aspx.